The 12th quasi-annual Microsoft Puzzle Hunt just kicked off. Biggest changes so far are that each team can choose one of two groups to participate in: COMPETITIVE or RECREATIONAL.
Teams who choose to be COMPETITIVE get the experience most like historical hunts:
COMPETITIVE teams will have an experience consistent with past Microsoft Puzzle Hunts. Puzzle Central, however, intends to offer no hints or help to individual COMPETITIVE teams.
On the other hand, teams could choose to have access to unlimited help:
RECREATIONAL teams will have more help available to them- in fact, they’ll have more help than in any past Hunt. A hint database will be available to all RECREATIONAL teams. If a RECREATIONAL team gets stuck on a puzzle, they can request a hint from the automated site. If that hint doesn’t unblock them, they can request another. And another.
Finally, teams have the option to change classes at will, but only in one direction:
Most importantly, any COMPETITIVE team can convert to being a RECREATIONAL team at any time during the event. RECREATIONAL teams, however, cannot become COMPETITIVE.
I’ll provide additional thoughts and analysis here throughout the weekend.